#SCBDTravels: Do #LA the right way in 72 hours!

scbdtravels

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to travel to LA for my job at the time. It was my first time ever traveling to to the West Coast and I loved every bit of it. I stayed in Downtown LA in the Little Tokyo area which meant having ramen was a must.

Here are some of the spots I loved and checked out while I was in DTLA for 72 hours:
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1. El Pollo Loco (various locations)- It’s a chain but a great one, you can find down South in Texas and a long the West Coast. They serve some of the best rotisserie chicken, tortillas, rice and beans that fills you up!

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2. Ford’s Filling Station (Culver City) – My first night in LA, I spent going out with my cousin who lives in the area and we went to Ford’s for dinner. They serve homestyle classic American food with a Modern twist. I’d definitely come back since it was hip spot. The food was delicious and filling like they mention in the title.

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3. Sprinkles Cupcakes (various locations)- Home of the first cupcake shop in the US. Sprinkles is a staple in LA. The cupcakes are delicious and all they are cracked up to be. I enjoyed a classic cupcake– chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The cupcakes are delicious and #SCBDApproved.

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4. The Original Pantry Cafe (DTLA)- This downtown LA restaurant is a staple in the area. They serve a homestyle breakfast so I decided to go with sausage gravy with biscuits. It was delicious and I’d definitely go back but keep in mind they only take cash!

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5.  Citadel Outlets (Citadel) – About a 20 minute drive from DTLA (without traffic), this outlet is huge and even has an American Apparel Outlet Store in it. I loved and had a great time shopping there. I would definitely come back on a weekend when I had more time on my hands.

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6. Daikokuya Ramen (Little Tokyo)- For about $10 and change you can get a hefty bowl of ramen and a soft drink. It’s delicious and LA local favorite. Keep in mind that they only take cash and be ready to wait and put your name down before your seated. It’s totally worth the wait!

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7. LA Live- The new place to eat, drink, and enjoy LA sports teams. I went to the Yardhouse while I was there and the spot was definitely the place to be. Check out there website, to see what other restaurants that are in LA Live.

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8.  JiST Cafe (Little Tokyo) – JiST is a hidden breakfast nook in Little Tokyo. They serve classic breakfast dishes with an Asian twist. I got chocolate chip and banana pancakes and the serving was huge and delicious! It was a perfect breakfast before my last day working in LA.

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9. In & Out Burger- No trip to LA or even to the West Coast is complete without stopping here. Yes, it’s fast food but its the bomb. I really loved my burger and fries and will be asking for animal sauce next time. It was such a deal and was only $5 too! No complaints!

I still can’t believe I went to as many places as I did in 3 days while I was in Cali! I definitely would love to live there eventually but until then I’ll be finding my way to vacation back! I got to take a peek into so many places I’d love really get to spend a day or two at to get the full experience, including Santa Monica Blvd.

Stay tuned for more travel posts!

Cheers,

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#SCBDExclusive: Interview with Abbey & Lindsay, Owners of Cake Couture NJ!

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Cake Couture NJ is a home-based custom cake company founded by two Jersey girls from my hometown of Howell, Lindsay Mauser and Abbey Lanz. Last time I was home I had the opportunity to interview them on the company, their cakes, and more!

cupcakes

SCBD: How long have you been baking and cake decorating?

CCNJ: We’ve been baking as long as we can remember. We started getting into cake decorating by taking classes at Michael’s when they had them locally. Abbey received her degree in pastry from the Culinary Education Center of Monmouth County in 2011 where she performed in pastry competitions too. She’s always been more passionate about cakes rather than general pastry, you can see it in our work.

SCBD: Who came up with idea to start Cake Couture NJ?

CCNJ: We started making cakes for family about 4 years ago and then came up with the name and really started our business three years ago. When we first started it was Abbey and my (Lindsay’s) sister Erin but Erin wasn’t as passionate about it after a while so I stepped in and we’ve been successfully working together since. We feel that our cakes aren’t just any cakes so we felt that Cake Couture was the perfect name for us.

SCBD: What is special about your recipe compared to others?

CCNJ: Well, you can’t really compare us to any other cake or cupcake out there. We’re very creative and are constantly coming up with new recipes to try. We love coming up with new recipes for flavors we like.

SCBD: I’ve seen pictures of your cakes and the artwork looks so professional. How did you learn this?

CCNJ: We learned the most by doing it all the time and through trial and error. It’s all about finding the right temperature, etc.

21st birthday beer cake

21st birthday beer cake

SCBD: What’s a new flavors are you working on?

CCNJ: We are currently working on summer flavors, our latest creation is working on some summer cocktail cupcakes like margarita, and more!

SCBD: What’s the most popular cake flavor order you get?

CCNJ: Our vanilla with vanilla butter cream and red velvet with cream cheese frosting are our most popular.

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Cupcakes with faces of Aunt & Grandma

SCBD: What’s the most unique order you’ve had?

CCNJ: Our most unique order so far was for cupcakes with our client’s grandma & aunt’s faces on them. It took a lot of work but it was fun to do and rewarding at the end.

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21st birthday cake

SCBD: What was your first order? Who was it for?

CCNJ: Our first order was for a 21st birthday at a big banquet hall, we were pretty nervous but it was a success. The cake had pink quilted zebra print on it.

SCBD: What’s a quote you both live by?

CCNJ: “She who leaves a trail of glitter, is never forgotten.”

SCBD: What’s Cake Couture NJ‘s motto?

CCNJ: “Made with Love” which we always have on all of our orders and ”Edible Art For Magical Moments”.

SCBD: Where do you see Cake Couture NJ in five years?

CCNJ: We have high hopes and would love to be doing bigger events and have it turn into our full time job. We are looking forward to having bigger orders and to be in demand in the tri-state area. We are  working with the Ronald McDonald house on their event in May and donating a cupcake tower to their silent auction on May 19.

SCBD: Last, what do you want SCBD readers to know about Cake Couture NJ?

CCNJ: Nothing is impossible for us, we are willing to take any order. We take our time with every order and are very critical of our cakes. We do consultations and tastings for cakes for any event.

Harry Potter cake

Harry Potter cake

Make sure you like Cake Couture NJon Facebook  follow them on Twitter @CakeCoutureNJ! I’m definitely looking forward to working with them more because they have such a great thing going!

Cheers– let’s eat cake!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

Master the Cupcake at Butterlane’s Cupcake Classes!

Butterlane's Shop & Cooking Class Studio next doorPicture Courtesy of Butterlane Cupcakes

Butter Lane’s Shop & Cooking Class Studio next door
Picture Courtesy of Butter Lane Cupcakes

Almost two weeks ago before the anniversary dinner I went to Butter Lane Cupcakes in the East Village. Over the summer I won blogger of the week where I was able to  get a special deal to try their cupcakes which were delicious and nothing like any cupcake I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot).

Butter Lane's cookie dough cupcakePicture courtesy of Butter Lane

Butter Lane’s cookie dough cupcake
Picture courtesy of Butter Lane

 I saw they had a cupcake class available and thought it was about time for another visit. Butter Lane Cupcakes are unlike any other cupcake you’ll have because of their recipe which emphasizes on butter which I found out during the class I attended. Here are some facts on the classes they offer:

  • You learn how to make three cupcakes along with icings and mix-ins that pair with them
  • They are about 2 hours long, get there early because they start on time!
  • Use the mixer and oven the real cupcake masters use
  • Ice the cupcakes you made yourself
  • Taste the difference of Butter Lane Cupcakes mixes

Here are some perks:

  • You get to take a four box (which is $12)
  • Take the cupcake & icing recipes home with you
  • Take a Butter Lane Cupcakes souvenir apron home with you for an extra $20
My first batch of finished cupcakes!

My first batch of finished cupcakes!

The classes are $60 a person but worth it because you learn so much.  Find out more information about the classes, here. Look at the class schedule, here. So next time you’re in the East Village make sure you stop by Butter Lane Cupcakes (123 E. 7th St), your stomach and sweet tooth will thank you!

Have a sweet day! :D

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*Disclaimer: The PR team paid for my class. I was not required to write about these experiences and my opinions are my own and unbiased.*

#SCBDExclusive Interview with Cheryl Burger, Owner of The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe

This summer I had the opportunity to stop by a bake shoppe I had heard about while I was in school, check out my initial post on The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe, here. One thing I love about it is that you always find the owner, Cheryl Burger at the shop working on her latest cupcake or cake pop creation and to greet new visitors. This year I had the opportunity to interview her where we discussed cupcakes, winning Cupcake Wars, and more.

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SCBD: When did you open The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe?

CB: February 5, 2010

SCBD: Your cupcakes are delicious, have you always had a passion for baking?

CB: I’ve always loved to bake, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would do it for a living. 

SCBD: What’s your favorite cupcake you serve at the shop?

CB: Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream, simple, delicious, it’s a classic!

SCBD: You are always thinking outside of the box with your flavors, what is the latest cupcake at the shop?

CB: Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream is the newest addition to our cupcake family.  It’s like an Irish Car Bomb, but in a cupcake! 

SCBD: You also have cake truffles that are great. How’d you come up with them?

CB: I found them online a few years ago.  They are bite sized and different.  People have gone nuts for them.  They are great to take to parties and during the Christmas season we shape them like Santa Hats and Christmas trees.  They are so cute!

SCBD: You are always doing community events, why do you feel it’s so important to be in touch and involved with the community?

CB: I was raised to give back.  I have volunteered for various organizations since I was a kid.  To be honest, it never occurred to me not to give back.  I am so fortunate to have the success I have had and I am honored to be able to share that with the community that supports me.

SCBD: Owning a bake shop, you are constantly baking different cupcakes, cakes, etc for different holidays. What’s your favorite holiday to bake for? Why?

CB: Christmas, without question!  It’s the ultimate baking holiday!  Besides all the options and great flavors that Christmas is known for, what is better than Christmas cookies?! I honestly can’t believe I get to bake Christmas cookies for a living, who could ask for anything more.

SCBD: You were on and a winner of Cupcake Wars this year. What was that experience like for you?

CB: The entire experience was surreal.  Just to be picked for the show is an honor, but to win is amazing!  After seeing the show I went there expecting to have my cupcakes ripped apart, but the judges were so kind and had so many nice things to say about my work.  I was blown away!  I am dying to go back, but no word yet.

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SCBD: Has it affected your business for better or worst?

CB: The first few weeks were great in that business was booming, but we had a really hard time keeping up with demand.  We are now properly staffed and able to keep up with the increased demand, which is really my priority.  More business is always great, but you don’t want to disappoint the people who have supported you since the beginning.

SCBD: Have your expectations in the shop changed since you’ve won? How so?

CB:  I have a pretty focused goal for what I want the shop to be, what I want The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe brand to be and how I want to grow.  I don’t think Cupcake Wars changed much, except that I’m meeting growth goals on a shorter timeline than I had originally planned.

SCBD: I am a young professional, what’s the best advice you got as a young professional, from who?

CB: My parents were extremely supportive of this entire venture and they reminded me constantly to stop listening to everyone who tells you that you can’t do something.  Not once did they question my vision or judgment.  It’s unbelievable the number of people who love to share statistics about small businesses failing, or question if you are qualified to do what you are doing.  Some of my own friends and family were and are skeptics.  You just have to ignore it.  Do what you know you’re good at and watch their jaws drop as you clear each hurdle.

SCBD: What advice do you have for the young professionals out there who are looking to start their own business?

CB: DO IT!  I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s easy, but it is worth it.  This is the time in your life that you can get away with the long hours and hectic lifestyle that comes with owning your own business.

SCBD:  What’s your life motto?

CB: “Look like a girl.  Act like a lady.  Think like a man.  Work like a boss.”

Thank you Cheryl for giving me the opportunity to interview you. If you are in New Jersey make sure you stop by one of my favorite cupcake shops, The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe in Chester, NJ. You’ll be in for a treat!

In honor of the #SCBDAnniversary last week, The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe has agreed to do a cake pop giveaway! Want to enter? It’s easy just become a fan of Small Chick Big Deals on Facebook and our 200th fan wins a dozen!

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#SCBD Event: Unveiling of the #SCBD Cupcake, Sara Smile!

I’m happy to announce the first, Small Chick Big Deals event. This isn’t just any event either, it’s the unveiling of the #SCBDExclusive cupcake that you can ONLY get at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes as of August 31st.

Why August 31st, you ask? It’s because it’s the night of the event!

Here are the details:

Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes in Totowa & Nutley will be having a special deal August 31st from 5-7 PM for any #SCBD followers, fans, & of course readers.

The event itself will be at the TOTOWA location although the cupcake will be available at both locations.

JARETS STUFFED CUPCAKES TOTOWA is located at 181 Union Blvd, Totowa, NJ

At the event in TOTOWA, not only will you get to meet Small Chick Big Deals herself and some of the Jerz Hot Spots crew but you will be the first to see the and taste the Sara Smile Cupcake!

We have a special deal for anyone who shows that they read Smallchickbigdeals.com:
Buy 3 Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes, get 1 Sara Smile Free!

Please RSVP ASAP to the Facebook event here :)

Hope to see you all there, Happy Eating! :D

Stop at The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe

A few months ago I heard about this cupcake shop in Chester, it sounded great and I’d constantly see deals on their Twitter. I was determined to go, Unfortunately it was a bit out of the way from FDU at the time so I couldn’t make it there until this summer. But I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I ended up going there for the first time about two weeks ago.

The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe (57 Main St., Chester, NJ)

Customer Service: 5- Everyone is super friendly there. They are always open to any questions and know their stuff.

Atmosphere: 5- It’s a cute little shop with some seats inside and tables outside. It’s perfect to get cupcakes to go because it’s a mom & pop shop.

Cupcake Quality: 4.8- If you like sweet cupcakes this place is for you. The cake is a great consistency and frosting can be a bit sweet but its unique and homemade. I love all the unique flavors they have like Rootbeer Float & Nutella. My personal favorite is Nutella and my man loved there new Bacon French toast. Yes, bacon.

Price: $- The cupcakes are great quality for a great price–most of cupcakes are $2 each. and the speciality cupcakes are $2.50 each. They also have cake truffles are $1.25 each, $12 per dozen.

Did I mention they have a Cupcake Club?! The Cupcake Club Membership is 12 certificates (1 for each month starting from the month you purchase it, for 1 year). The cost is $20. The certificates can be used on any cupcake including our higher priced, specialty cupcakes, as well as our seasonal specially decorated cupcakes. The certificates must be used during the month designated on each one.

Final Score: 14.8/15- The staff is friendly and the cupcakes are delicious and are sure to satisfy a sweet tooth! I also love that they have a cupcake club, which I think more places should have. It’s a huge money saver and totally worth it! I can’t wait to get mine once a month! If you are a cupcake connoisseur like myself, I highly recommend it!

You can follow them @SweetSpotNJ on Twitter!

If you go there, I’d love to know if you agree!

Have a safe & happy weekend & most of all…

Happy Eating! :)

…’Til next time!

If you love cupcakes like I do, you won’t want to miss the Cupcake Crew!

Being a food blogger who loves cupcakes, I know if I was stopping by any food truck in New York City it would be the Cupcake Crew’s cupcake truck. I was ecstatic that the were near where I was in SoHo on Saturday. What better day to try the Cupcake Crew’s cupcakes then Cinco de Mayo?

Cupcake Crew (all over NYC- follow @cupcakecrewnyc)

Customer Service- 5: I got excellent service when I asked about the flavors. The guy who ran the truck was super nice as well!

Atmosphere- 4.5: Since it was a truck I can’t really judge the atmosphere but they had a crowd. You also can’t miss the truck because it’s black and dark pink so it stands out, you really can’t miss it!

Cupcake Quality- 5: The cupcakes were delicious and had just enough of everything. They had a special Tequila Lime flavor because it was Cinco de Mayo and that was my favorite flavor. Every flavor I had was great. I got the minis but I’m sure if I got a regular sized cupcake it would’ve been great as well. They also survived the NJ Transit ride back to Jersey with me neatly wrapped in a bag, which says a lot.

Price: $ – I got 3 minis for $5 which isn’t too bad for NYC prices. They weren’t too expensive at all & great to eat in the city or bring home. It was worth every penny because as I mentioned they survived the train ride.

Final Score: 14.5/15 – These cupcakes are great and the prices won’t break your budget! You just need to make sure you can catch the truck. They post where they will be on their twitter @cupcakecrewnyc!

Feel free to let me know if you agree!

      Picture Above: The Cupcake Crew cupcake truck

Picture above: Enjoying my Tequila Lime cupcake for Cinco de Mayo

        Happy Eating!!! :D

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